7:56 am - 02/05/2011

Memo to the MPAA: Animal Cruelty Isn't Kid's Stuff


As anyone who follows my feverish rantings on Twitter can tell you, I was really angry about 12 hours ago. Angry, infuriated, livid, and prepared to rant till my fingers broke off. But it's never good to try and make a point when one is angry, so let's start with a small handful of facts.

1. The new "thriller" known as 'The Roommate' was given a PG-13 rating for "violence and menace, sexual content, some language, and teen partying." (I will not editorialize on the intentionally vague and moronic terms used here because this is the "facts" section.)

2. The MPAA's PG-13 rating is not an "enforced" one, which means that if two seven-year-olds ask for a ticket to the R-rated 'Kick-Ass,' they shall should be denied admission, but if they ask for tickets to see the PG-13 'The Roommate,' they're always allowed in. (Again: the PG-13 is an "advisory" rating, not an enforced one.)

3. The PG-13-rated 'The Roommate' features a scene in which a plainly psycho woman sticks a plainly helpless kitten into a plainly deadly clothes dryer and kills it. (The films that 'The Roommate' steals the most from, 'Fatal Attraction' and 'Single White Female,' also have animals killed as part of their plot. Those films are both rated R.)

4. The MPAA ratings board is clearly more worried about the evils of "teen partying" than they are in the obviously more hateful act of "animal cruelty." What does it say about a ratings board that cares more about mild profanity than it does in the (easily copiable) act of jamming a cat into a dryer?

Please do not mistake my last point: I'm not saying that films should not "kill animals" if that's what the filmmakers deem necessary. Recent movies like 'Dogtooth' (which was not rated by the MPAA) and 'Drag Me to Hell' (also rated PG-13, which is another farce) have had "kitty kills" that work precisely how the filmmakers want them to. We are talking about fiction, after all, so of course animals should be held to the same mortality standard as human characters. (Context also has a lot to do with it; in 'Drag,' Sam Raimi kills an animal in a broad, carnival-show, almost comic-booky way. In 'Roommate,' the kitten is sacrificed in stupidly mercenary fashion simply because the film has no humans worth caring about. Classy, eh?)

My point is simply this: any film that offers such a casual and mindless piece of "shock value" animal cruelty should be rated R. Why? Open your newspapers is why. Stories of animal cruelty run rampant in cities all over the world. And while I certainly do not subscribe to the opinion that "movies are to blame for a violent society," I absolutely believe that a 7-year-old kid should be prevented from seeing a kitty tossed into a dryer. And I bet a good number of adults would also like to know if a film offers that type of material.

Not censorship, not an artistic mandate of any kind, but a polite demand from myself to the folks at the MPAA ratings board. If you people consider "menace" and "teen partying" the sort of stuff our children should be warned away from, then you damn well must believe that "animal cruelty" qualifies as well.

Maybe if you forced a worthless film like 'The Roommate' to include "animal cruelty" beneath its oh-so-valuable PG-13 banner, it would think twice about using such a stupid and hateful ploy to get a cheap thrill from its audience. Or at the very least, it'd be shoveling its junk to an appropriately adult audience.

Bottom line: I challenge the MPAA to include "animal cruelty" as part of its ratings board criteria, and to mention it alongside such alleged threats as profanity, smoking, and teen partying. That I even have to suggest it seems a little absurd.

This isn't the last you'll hear from me on this issue.

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thatfilmgirl 5th-Feb-2011 02:11 pm (UTC)

Okay now I'm REALLY glad I didn't see this movie. WHY THE HELL WASN'T THAT INCLUDED??!
beatlesluv 5th-Feb-2011 02:45 pm (UTC)
i'm glad I didnt see it as well...a cat in a fucking drawer? FUCK OFF. It's not a joke...if you dont want a pet don't fucking get one...done fucking put your cat in a fucking drawer.
thatfilmgirl 5th-Feb-2011 02:48 pm (UTC)
Clothes dryer bb.
queensabo 5th-Feb-2011 02:59 pm (UTC)
vehiclesshockme 5th-Feb-2011 05:04 pm (UTC)
Because it's a rip off of Single White Female and in that movie they kill a puppy.
dobatochan 5th-Feb-2011 07:18 pm (UTC)
Me too, I probably would have cried and left. Not even joking.
marmar627 6th-Feb-2011 05:09 am (UTC)
saintsammy17 5th-Feb-2011 02:11 pm (UTC)
I had to close my eyes for that part :( It doesn't show anything, but just knowing about it makes me so sad. I hate that in nearly every "scary" movie that has a cat, there's pretty much a guarantee it'll bite the dust. I definitely think movies with animal cruelty should be rated higher.

That being said, the film was cheesy, but overall a fun popcorn flick. Almost a perfect copy of Single White Female though.
xanvalleys 5th-Feb-2011 02:16 pm (UTC)
Right? Fuck, always the cats too, never dogs
xanvalleys 5th-Feb-2011 02:18 pm (UTC)
I mean not never, it just seems like its always cats
saintsammy17 5th-Feb-2011 02:18 pm (UTC)
Exactly! I don't like seeing animal cruelty ever, but I always joke "for once, can't it be a dog?? poor kitties". The one in this movie is especially little and adorable too :'(
lovelylaura23 5th-Feb-2011 02:38 pm (UTC)
gurl, watch Secret Window. :'(
selling_alibis 5th-Feb-2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
American Psycho has a dog killing scene, if that makes you feel any better.
murdertramp_ 5th-Feb-2011 02:11 pm (UTC)
i was going to go see the roommate too. not any more. i know how my emotional triggers run and a helpless kitty in a dryer is going to have me crying the rest of the evening.
vintagegirlnh 5th-Feb-2011 02:11 pm (UTC)
I absolutely agree.
phillymademe 5th-Feb-2011 02:13 pm (UTC)
poor kitty ;_;
squishinator 5th-Feb-2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
me too girl.

OT but the girl in your icon looks like a brunette hybrid of keira knightly and dianna agron.
theratwhispers 5th-Feb-2011 02:21 pm (UTC)
same....I don't even like watching the X-Files episode where Scully's dog gets eaten....I just can't....even though I know it's make believe and a bunch of sound effects....<.<;;;; my brain is all DO NOT WANT
affliction 5th-Feb-2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
I Am Legend.. :(
ljubavirakija 5th-Feb-2011 02:26 pm (UTC)
I hate seeing animals in action sequences where they get hurt off-screen. An example- "Shooter" w/ Marky Mark. A pair of cops with canine police are chasing Mark's character when a dog lunges at his character, but he pulls a Marine move to dodge the attack. However, what enraged me more was seeing (and hearing) the dogs fall down the stairs; and hearing their yelp.
parisdiorchanel 5th-Feb-2011 02:41 pm (UTC)
Me too.
lil_silverheart 6th-Feb-2011 12:30 am (UTC)
Same here! I know that when people die/get hurt in movies it's not real, but for some reason with animals I always think it's real :(
marmar627 6th-Feb-2011 05:09 am (UTC)
koala_d 6th-Feb-2011 05:37 am (UTC)
do not watch Hachi. I knew about the irl it was based on and would cry at every little moment right up til the end. TEARS FOR DAYS
mollyj1993 5th-Feb-2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
ew omg.
Need to sort thier shit out tbh
ljubavirakija 5th-Feb-2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
The Roommate' features a scene in which a plainly psycho woman sticks a plainly helpless kitten into a plainly deadly clothes dryer and kills it.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
cakebot_san 5th-Feb-2011 02:16 pm (UTC)
mte Yeezy
emmamurr 5th-Feb-2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
In my film class when we talked about ratings we had a in depth discussion about the bunny on the poster and how it just kind of shows up in the NC -17 rating.
Don't hurt animals
asnapshot 5th-Feb-2011 07:59 pm (UTC)
the more I look at that poster, the weirder it is.
emmamurr 5th-Feb-2011 09:10 pm (UTC)
I take this poster as a suggestion to sneak into movies
romp 5th-Feb-2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
have you seen This Film is Not Yet Rated?
piratesswoop 5th-Feb-2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
i'm with the author on this
cakebot_san 5th-Feb-2011 02:16 pm (UTC)
i can't watch animals die in movies. My ex took me to Eight Below and I couldn't stop crying because I knew in the first couple minutes they where setting up the dogs to die. :(
xtinkerbellax 5th-Feb-2011 04:36 pm (UTC)
Eight Below was sad :( But at least only one of the dogs died, at least I think it was only one.
checkbookstub 5th-Feb-2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
But at least that movie was more like, nature taking its course, rather than human cruelty/neglect. that movie still totally makes me well up though.
pikapika217 actual question....5th-Feb-2011 02:17 pm (UTC)
Why is it that people seem to be repulsed by animal cruelty more than human death/violence?
squishinator Re: actual question....5th-Feb-2011 02:18 pm (UTC)
Idk... animals just seem some harmless and so helpless. I mean not all animals of course but like someones pet...
sunleth not an actual question5th-Feb-2011 02:18 pm (UTC)
Why is it that this question is always asked in posts like this?
bluekrinkle Re: not an actual question5th-Feb-2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
xtinkerbellax Re: not an actual question5th-Feb-2011 04:36 pm (UTC)
Yea, its annoying.
celtic_thistle Re: not an actual question5th-Feb-2011 09:15 pm (UTC)

Flawless icon btw
woollymammoth Re: actual question....5th-Feb-2011 02:21 pm (UTC)
Because animals are, for the most part, defenseless against humans, less intelligent, don't have as much access to resources, I mean really take your pick.
aredhela Re: actual question....5th-Feb-2011 02:27 pm (UTC)
Maybe because animals don't even know what is happening and they're usually helpless, can't scream for help, idk. And I think it's the fact that animal cruelty is much more common irl than killing humans. People think that they can hurt animals, because they won't go to jail for this (ok they can, but how often it happens? let's be honest here).
violue Re: actual question....5th-Feb-2011 02:44 pm (UTC)
because humans suck

very_naughty Re: actual question....5th-Feb-2011 02:49 pm (UTC)
I'm equally repulsed by a child being put into a dryer as I am an animal.
kristinkat Re: actual question....5th-Feb-2011 02:51 pm (UTC)
a combination of what other people have said (animals are defenseless, etc.) and we've been desensitized to a lot of human-human violence. animals seem to trigger a more emotional reaction. which doesn't mean that people think it's necessarily worse than human violence.
starspecting Re: actual question....5th-Feb-2011 03:12 pm (UTC)
there's probably a lot of reasons, but the biggest one for me is that animals (as far as i know) don't really have the capacity to deceive others in the same way humans do, nor do they have intentionally and purposefully go out of their way to hurt other like we do.

'cept dolphins. they kind of seem like assholes.
talklikelions Re: actual question....5th-Feb-2011 03:21 pm (UTC)
Kitten's thoughts: Oooh, lady coming near me *purr purr* she's picking me up! *purr purr*

Bam. It's dead.

Human's thoughts: Holy shit this bitch is insane must find way out must scream in terror must cry for police must do something equally diabolical in return pick your poison because bitch is CRAY CRAY.
whataboutdasha Re: actual question....5th-Feb-2011 04:09 pm (UTC)
tbh I don't get it.
It's like when my friend said she would prefer that her brother break his leg than her horse. I was like wut?
superdogbiter Re: actual question....5th-Feb-2011 04:22 pm (UTC)
I think childrens death affect people as much as animals
secretivexhero Re: actual question....5th-Feb-2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
Yeah, honestly, it's kind of sick that people are more horrified by animals dying than people dying. I've heard things like 'well animals aren't evil like people' which is the dumbest, most disturbing thing I've ever heard. It's true that animals can't really tell you their thoughts, so seeing them die is like seeing a kid die because it's just... a much more innocent creature than, say, an evil secret agent who just wants to kill, but it's still strange imo. In fact, I consider it a red flag when someone says "OMG ANIMALS DYING HURTS ME MOAR THAN HUMANS DYING". That's just fucked up.
valiumaphrodite Re: actual question....5th-Feb-2011 05:44 pm (UTC)
From what I've noticed, their deaths are pointless to the plot and only done to get a reaction.
ascot_gavotte Re: actual question....5th-Feb-2011 05:51 pm (UTC)
people tend to like animals better than humans. especially because animals can't talk back to you or say rude things.
slutdrunkmystag Re: actual question....5th-Feb-2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
Scenes like this bother me because I worry that some loser will see it and think it sounds like something fun or funny to do. Animal abuse is incredibly common and the punishment for it is often non-existant or a slap on the wrist.

I also worry that the animals were harmed during the movie, whereas I know that's not the case with people. Most of the time, like I'm sure with this movie, the animals are totally fine. But then there are movies out there where animals ARE actually hurt in the movies. Not cats and dogs, but still.
fineprnt Re: actual question....5th-Feb-2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
It's not necessarily that they are more repulsed by animal cruelty; the article is addressing the MPAA's lack of criteria for animal cruelty and violence. Human death/violence is already included in the MPAA's criteria (whatever... that... is? Seriously is there or is there not a definitive list).
squishinator 5th-Feb-2011 02:17 pm (UTC)
omg the very THOUGHT of someone doing that to a kitten makes me want to barf. Reminds me of in Urban Legends when someone puts the puppy in the microwave. I will cut a bitch.

IDG the rating system sometimes. I agree with this person. But then again I was all about single white female when I was about 7, as well as a LOT of other shit that probably wasn't appropriate for my age, and I turned out fine.
sullen_child 5th-Feb-2011 02:32 pm (UTC)
romp 5th-Feb-2011 08:34 pm (UTC)
There's a great documentary about the MPAA rating system: This Film is Not Yet Rated

in short, no one knows how it works other than it reflects the beliefs and biases of a few people
milkradio 5th-Feb-2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
I hope more people realise the MPAA is full of shit.
affliction 5th-Feb-2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
Isn't there a documentary about it?
milkradio 5th-Feb-2011 02:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's called This Film is Not Yet Rated.
ljubavirakija 5th-Feb-2011 02:22 pm (UTC)
Really? I'd love to watch it, if there's a documentary
zleznjiyh 5th-Feb-2011 02:27 pm (UTC)
This movie is not yet rated. A very interesting watch.
rydiachachunk 5th-Feb-2011 03:34 pm (UTC)
If you have netflix its on the instantwatch thing. I still need to watch it...
gabzillaz 5th-Feb-2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
Poor kitty :(
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